First Impressions: “Dragon Age: Origins” (PS3) (+ More on “Mass Effect 3”)

Dragon Age - Origins__An Archdemon is amassing an army of Darkspawn, and the player, one of the last remaining Grey Wardens, must work to unite the fractured armies and save the land of Ferelden.
__If you’re one of this game’s many fans, I’m afraid I must disappoint you: I can’t quite concur. At times, the game almost won me over. I always enjoyed talking to my companions, especially developing the romance with Morrigan, and I loved some particular sections: the Sloth Demon level (in theory, at least), the Brecilian Ruins, the escape from Fort Drakon, and the riddles protecting the Urn of Sacred Ashes. I could probably write a further 250 words or more just about my character’s personal journey. 🙂
__But it’s all ruined by the most frequent gameplay mechanic: the combat. I hate this game’s combat system with a fiery passion! Your attacks are sluggish, and the enemies seem to have an unfair advantage because they swarm you in insanely big groups and attack faster than you can fight back – or heal, for that matter! Maybe I’m just not a good enough gamer, but in any case, it’s for this reason that I haven’t yet seen the ending: because I found the final boss battle to be so gruelling that I knew my efforts to beat it would enrage me to the point that it would be hazardous to my health!
__So my overall impression of this game is mixed at best. I enjoyed myself somewhat, but only when I wasn’t fighting.
__My rating: 65%.

__Actually, since I said I could write all about my character’s personal journey, I think I will! 🙂 I’ll add an extra section to go into detail about how I played and what I felt was going through my character’s head. It seems prudent to give a spoiler alert for this section, as I will be talking about some things that happen near the end.
__The character I created was a human mage, and since I’m not good at coming up with fantastical names, I just went with the default name I was assigned: Daylen.
__Now, right off the bat, there were quite a few groups of people the game did not present in a positive light, so I reasoned that my character had grown to hate and mistrust the Circle of Magi, who took him from his family when he was a child and who had several practices he disapproved of, and the Chantry, who straight-up hated mages. As a result, when he set out on his journey, he was fuelled predominantly by confused anger and bitterness. No one could ever replace the real family he had back at home, but the Grey Wardens, even though his time with them was brief, felt like the next best thing.
__He became firm friends with Alistair, and never went anywhere without him after the battle of Ostagar, because they were the last of the Grey Wardens; they were a team. 🙂
__When he met Morrigan, he was struck by her beauty pretty much immediately. After she joined him on his quest and he got to know her better, he soon saw how independent she was, how firmly she believed in survival of the fittest. And that’s why he fell in love with her: because, in her, he’d found someone he could relate to. Her influence allowed him to focus his resentment of certain authority figures into a clearer philosophy, and showed him fully how little sympathy he had for those people. But as he progressed on his journey, he began to realise that there were other solutions besides flat-out eliminating evildoers, and helping people in need actually did make him feel much better, despite Morrigan’s objections. He was particularly proud of how peacefully he was able to resolve the conflict between Zathrian and the Lady of the Forest.
__At first, he wasn’t very tolerant of Leliana, because she represented the Chantry that he hated so much. But the more time he spent with her, the more he got to know how sweet she was and what a troubled past she had, and his initial prejudice gave way to pity and benevolence. He truly appreciated her friendship, and even got to thinking, “Perhaps, in another life, we could have been more than friends.” As he began to do more good deeds when Morrigan wasn’t around, he soon started to realise that Leliana was the far better influence on him. He might even have started to have second thoughts about his relationship with Morrigan.
__By the time he and Alistair were arrested, he’d gained enough sense to realise that surrendering was the best option, as to resist would only lend credence to the lies Loghain had been telling and aggravate the Grey Wardens’ bad reputation.
__When Riordan revealed that slaying the Archdemon would also kill the Grey Warden who dealt the blow, Daylen was more than willing to accept the responsibility. He wasn’t afraid of dying; his only concern was letting everyone else down, that he might fail and take all of Ferelden down with him.
__Then Morrigan came to him and proposed an alternative: to impregnate her, thus letting the child carry the soul of the Old God upon the Archdemon’s death, meaning the Grey Warden need not die. This was the real reason she had been sent to accompany him, though she also confessed that falling in love with him for real wasn’t part of the plan. She also told him that she would be leaving after the Archdemon was defeated, and made him promise to not seek her out and just let her go. Now, Daylen wasn’t stupid: as infatuated as he was with Morrigan, he never fully trusted her. He’d always known that their relationship, as great as it was for him, probably wouldn’t last. He’d always suspected she had ulterior motives, but ultimately he was glad to see they weren’t malicious in nature; she intended to save his life rather than betray him. Together with the fact that he could be spending the last night of his life with her, it made perfect sense. So he accepted. He completely understood why she’d want to disappear afterwards – she was still an independent soul at heart – but at the same time, he’d never forget her.

__And, while we’re on the subject of BioWare games, I recently saw AngryJoe’s video on the Mass Effect 3 indoctrination theory. (No, I’m not letting this go! It’s been almost a month since I played that ending, and I’m still sore about it!)
__It’s certainly a compelling theory, and super-observant fans have found quite a bit of evidence to back it up. I did notice that, at the beginning, no one else seemed to see the child besides Shepard, and it is indeed interesting that the “destroy” ending is the only one where his eyes stay normal. It clearly shows that the fans are deeply passionate about the series, and are looking for any possible excuse to justify the awful ending we got. It’s certainly the only justification I’m willing to accept. And the idea that the whole ending happened in Shepard’s mind, and that that final gasping breath is him waking up still on Earth, implies that he hasn’t gone through the conduit yet, and it gives us hope that he can still destroy the Catalyst and everything can potentially turn out okay.
__If the theory is valid and Shepard was indeed indoctrinated, I only have two questions. One: why did the process take so long? And two: if that was BioWare’s plan all along, then why were the hints so subtle and easily missed? Why would they leave it so open for interpretation?
__The extended cut of the ending would seem to nullify the indoctrination theory, though, implying that it was all real after all. And if that is the case, then my opinion on the ending hasn’t changed: it’s still inexcusable!
__I know from other AngryJoe videos how the extended cut improved on the at-release ending, so I appreciate that it did help a little… but clearly not by much, because I got the full ending and I still hated it! I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I just wanted one simple thing: to be given the option to argue with the Catalyst AI and use logic and reasoning to fight for what I desperately wanted, to be allowed to act like the same character I’d been playing for three games and seventy-four hours total. This story, and these characters, deserved a happy ending! Shepard had beaten the odds for three whole games, but at the most critical moment, he just capitulates even though the logic is clearly wrong? I’m sorry, but no! That is not the Shepard I’d been playing! So I still say this ending can go eat a dick! I’ll take the MEHEM mod ending any day.

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About Maxle2000

Well, I'm a huge film buff first of all, so most of my blog entries will be reviews for movies I've just seen. I'm also into zoology (especially dinosaurs), music, literature, TV, technology (particularly computers), engineering, carpentry and DIY, and astronomy. Two things I'm most definitely *not* interested in are sport and politics. So yeah, I'm not the sporty type. But I do enjoy swimming and going for long walks. I don't drink or smoke. In fact, I hate cigarettes with a passion. I'm not particularly fond of excessive piercings or tattoos, either.
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